A Systematic Review of the Utility of Anticonvulsant Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Vulvodynia Pain

Authors

  • Raphael J. Leo MA, MD

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA
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Corresponding Author: Raphael J. Leo, MA, MD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14215, USA. Tel: 716-898-4857; Fax: 716-898-4447; E-mail: Rleo@buffalo.edu

Abstract

Introduction

Anticonvulsants have increasingly been invoked in the treatment of vulvodynia. However, the evidence supporting this treatment approach has not been systematically assessed.

Aim

The study aims to evaluate the efficacy of anticonvulsant pharmacotherapy in the treatment of vulvodynia.

Methods

A comprehensive search of the available literature was conducted.

Main Outcome Measure

An assessment of the methodological quality of published reports addressing the utility of anticonvulsants in the treatment of vulvodynia was undertaken.

Results

The search yielded nine published reports, i.e., one open-label trial, six nonexperimental studies, and two case reports. A number of methodological shortcomings were identified in several of the reports with respect to study design, including small sample sizes, lack of placebo or other comparison groups, inadequate outcome measures, among others. The vast majority of studies employed gabapentin. Evidence supporting the benefit of anticonvulsants studied to date was limited, i.e., based predominantly upon descriptive/observational reports. There were no systematic investigations into the comparative efficacy of different anticonvulsant agents in the treatment of vulvodynia.

Conclusion

Although some vulvodynia-afflicted patients derive symptom relief from anticonvulsants, there is, as yet, insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of anticonvulsant pharmacotherapy in the treatment of vulvodynia. Additional investigations, employing randomized controlled trials, are warranted. Leo RJ. A systematic review of the utility of anticonvulsant pharmacotherapy in the treatment of vulvodynia pain. J Sex Med 2013;10:2000–2008.

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